The Airmen's Stories - P/O A H Corkett
Alan Henry Corkett was born on 9th August 1917 in Finchley, Middlesex and educated at the City of London School. He was a stockbrokers clerk before joining the RAF on a short service commission.
He began his training on 6th February 1939 at 11 E&RFTS Perth. In June he was posted to 2 FTS Brize Norton. With his training completed, he joined the newly-reformed 253 Squadron at Manston on 6th November 1939.
In mid-May 1940 the squadron, along with others, was alerted to fly to France. Gathered for an early morning take-off, the Hurricanes were sent back to their bases, presumably as a result of Dowding's letter to Churchill, requesting that:
Not one more fighter will be sent across the Channel, however urgent and insistent the appeals may be.
On 4th September 1940 Corkett claimed a Me110 destroyed and on 5th October he shared in the destruction of a Ju88. On the 19th Corkett was posted to RAF Kenley as non-effective sick. He did not rejoin the squadron until 4th December 1940.
He remained with the squadron until August 1941 when he was posted to 17 Squadron at Elgin. With his tour completed, Corkett went as an instructor to 53 OTU in October 1941, initially at Llandow but later at Roose, Glamorgan.
In January 1943 he was posted to 64 Squadron at Hornchurch and in May was given command of 197 Squadron at Tangmere.
On 1st July 1943 the squadron took part in Ramrod 117, attacking Abbeville and Courtrai airfields. Corkett, in Typhoon Ib DN357 OV-Q, was shot down near Poix-de-Picardie and captured.
He was sent to Stalag Luft 3. Repatriated to the UK in 1945, he went on to the RAFO on 1st September 1945.
Corkett rejoined the RAF in September 1952 and was posted to CFS South Cerney for an instructors course. In April 1953 he went to 2 FTS, then at Cluntoe, Northern Ireland but later at Hullavington and Syerston, as an instructor on Jet Provosts, until September 1958.
Corkett had two non-flying staff jobs, firstly at RAF Pitreavie Castle and finally at RAF Scampton, prior to his retirement on 15th January 1962 as a Flight Lieutenant, retaining the rank of Squadron Leader.
He died in 2003.